Collection of Letters: Detail
- Gregory IX,, pope
Gregory, bishop, servant of the servants of God. To his beloved Agnes, abbess of the monastery of St. Francis of Prague, and her enclosed sisters, present and future, professed to the regulated life, in perpetuity.
To the prudent virgins who in religious habit with lamps lit for works of holiness prepare continually to go to meet the spouse [Mt 25:1, 4], the apostolic see ought to bestow its protection lest perhaps the attack of some sort of rashness should call them back from it, or, God forbid, weaken the strength of holy religion. Therefore, beloved daughter in the Lord, yielding favorably to your just prayers asking that the monastery of St. Francis of Prague, in which you are given up to divine service, with your hospital located in the establishment at Prague, which our dearest son in Christ Wenceslas the illustrious king of Bohemia granted to the Roman church, and that same king, as well as our venerable brother John, bishop of Prague by the consent of his chapter, gave each place to full liberty by understanding of piety, as we have seen fully contained in their letters transmitted to us, we have taken under our protection and that of the apostolic see in law and possession of St. Peter, and we secure that by the privilege of the present writing.
Determining first that the monastic order, which is known to be established in that place according to God and the rule of blessed Benedict and the institution of enclosed nuns of St. Damian of Assisi, will be observed there inviolably in perpetuity. Moreover whatever possessions and goods that monastery justly possesses in the present or is conceded by the pontiff in the future, or may be acquired by the generosity of kings or princes, by offering of the faithful or by other just means with the Lord granting, firmly to you and to those who succeed you, will remain without impairment. On which we have expressed the following in our words: that place in which the aforesaid monastery is located, with its hospital and all its appurtenances; the village/town of Clupetin with all the smaller villages pertaining to it, that is Humenche and Nidoscitz; the town of Bortotiz and Drahtesiez; Ridinic with its appurtenances; Rokscise with all its appurtenances; and your other possessions, with fields, vineyards, lands, woods, customary payments, and pastures, in woods and plain, in waters and mills, in roads and pathways, and all their other freedoms and immunities.
Certainly, of your fallow lands, which you cultivate with your own hands or which you receive, for which up to now no one has had to pay, or your gardens, thickets, fisheries, or the nurture of your animals, let no one presume to exact or extort tithes from you. Let it be allowed also to you to receive and retain free and freed/absolved persons fleeing from the world to conversion without contradiction. We prohibit moreover that none of your sisters, after they have made profession in your monastery be permitted to leave that place, or that anyone dare to hold back someone leaving.
For the consecrations of the altars of your church, or holy oil, or other ecclesiastical sacrament, let no one dare to extort anything from you under the protection of custom or any other way, but the diocesan bishop must give you all these free by our authority; otherwise let it be permitted to you by this same authority to receive from whatever catholic bishop you prefer grace and communion with the favor of the apostolic see. Since indeed sometimes you do not have a supply of diocesan bishops, if some bishop of the Roman see, as we said, having grace and communion, about whom you have full notice, should happen to come your way, you may receive from him benediction of your nuns, vessels, and vestments, and consecrations of the altars by authority of the apostolic see. When however there is a general interdict on the land, it is permitted to you to celebrate the divine offices with closed doors, keeping out excommunicates and the interdicted, without ringing of bells and with voices lowered. And when you die, the next abbess of that place or any of those who succeed you, may not be put up by any clever deception or violence, but elected by common consent of the sisters of a majority of those of wiser counsel, according to God and the rule of blessed Benedict.
Moreover confirming the freedoms and immunities conceded to you by the aforementioned king, bishop and chapter, by apostolic authority, we nonetheless prohibit that any archbishop, bishop or other prelate in the monastery and said hospital, or persons under the rule serving the Lord there, dare to promulgate sentence of excommunication, suspension, or interdict, which we pronounce does not hold against a published prohibition of this kind. Wishing also to provide with paternal sollicitude for your peace and tranquillity in the future, we prohibit by apostolic authority that anyone dare within the enclosures of your places to commit any robbery or theft, fire, bloodshed, or bold seizure of a man or murder or violence.
We have established beyond this that divine office will be celebrated there according to the custom of the Roman church, except the psaltery, which you may say according to Gallic custom. We declare therefore that no man is permitted to disturb said monastery and hospital rashly or take away its possessions or retain any it has taken away, or to diminish or distress them by any troubles, but all their things must be preserved whole which are granted for their governance and sustenanced, and with their rights of all kinds in the future, saving the authority of the apostolic see. As indication of this freedom received from the apostolic see, you will pay us and our successors annually one ®MDBO¯®MDNM¯bezant. If any person ecclesiastical or secular knowing this page of our decree, should attempt to move against it rashly in the future, admonished a second or third time, unless he correct his guilt with fitting amends, he will lose/lack the dignity of his power and honor and recognize that the guilt of perpetrated iniquity is by divine judgment, and he will be estranged from the most holy body and blood of god and lord, our redeemer Jesus Christ, and will be subject at the last judgment to strict punishment. To all serving his laws in that place may there be the peace of our lord Jesus Christ that they may receive the fruit of good action and find the rewards of eternal peace at the last judgment.
Dated at Perugia, by the hand of master William, vicechancellor of the holy Roman church, 8th kalends of August, indiction 8, in the ninth year of the pontificate of the lord pope Gregory IX, in the year of the lord's incarnation, 1235.
Gregorius, episcopus, servus servorum dei. Dilecte filie Agneti, abbatisse monasterii sancti Francisci Pragensis, eiusque sororibus inclusis, tam presentibus quam futuris, regularem vitam professis, in perpetuum. Prudentibus virginibus, que sub habitu religionis accensis lampadibus per opera sanctitatis iugiter se preparant obviam sponso ire, sedes apostolica debet patrocinium impertiri ne forte cuiuslibet temeritatis incursus aut eas a proposito revocet, aut robur, quod absit, sacre religionis enervet.
Eapropter, dilecte in Domino filie, vestris iustis postulationibus favorabiliter annuentes, monasterium sancti Francisci Pragense, in quo divino estis obsequio mancipate, cum hospitali vestro apud Pragam, situm in fundo, quem carissimus in Christo filius noster Wencezlaus, illustris rex Boemie, ecclesie Romane concessit et tam idem rex quam venerabilis frater noster Johannes, Pragensis episcopus, de assensu capituli sui utrumque locum pietatis intuitu plenarie libertati donavit, sicut in eorum litteris ad nos transmissis perspeximus plenius contineri, in ius et proprietatem beati Petri ac sub nostra et apostolice sedis protectione suscipimus et presentis scripti privilegio communimus. Inprimis siquidem statuentes, ut ordo monasticus, qui secundum deum et beati Benedicti regulam atque institutionem monialium inclusarum sancti Damiani Asisinatis in eodem loco institutus esse dinoscitur, perpetuis ibidem temporibus inviolabiliter observetur. Praeterea quascumque possessiones et quecumque bona idem monasterium impresentiarum iuste ac canonice possidet aut in futurum concessione pontificum, largitione regum vel principum, oblatione fidelium seu aliis iustis modis prestante Domino poterit adipisci, firma vobis et hiis, que vobis successerint, et illibata permaneant. In quibus hec propriis duximus exprimenda vocabulis: Locum ipsum in quo prefatum monasterium situm est, cum eodem hospitali et omnibus pertinentiis suis, villam Glupetin cum omnibus villulis ad eam pertinentibus, videlicet Humenche et Nidoscitz, villam Borotiz cum omnibus villulis ad ipsam pertinentibus, scilicet Supencwizt et Drahtesicz, villam Ribinic cum suis pertinentiis, villam Rokschice cum omnibus pertinentiis et alias possessiones vestras cum pratis, vineis, terris, nemoribus, usuagiis et pascuis, in bosco et plano, in aquis et molendinis, in viis et semitis et omnibus aliis libertatibus et immunitatibus suis. Sane novalium vestrorum, que propriis manibus aut sumptibus colitis, de quibus aliquis hactenus non percepit, sive de ortis, virgultis et piscationibus vestris seu de vestrorum animalium nutrimentis nullus a vobis decimas exigere vel extorquere presumat. Liceat quoque vobis personas liberas et absolutates e seculo fugientes ad conversionem recipere et eas absque contradictione aliqua retinere. Prohibemus insuper, ut nulli sororum vestrarum post factam in monasterio vestro professionem fas sit de eodem loco discedere, discedentem vero nullus audeat retinere. Pro consecrationibus vero altarium vel ecclesie vestre, sive pro oleo sancto, vel alio ecclesiastico sacramento nullus a vobis sub obtentu consuetudinis vel alio modo quicquam audeat extorquere, set hec omnia gratis vobis auctoritate nostra episcopus diocesanus impendat; alioquin liceat vobis hec eadem auctoritate recipere a quocumque malueritis catholico antistite gratiam et communionem sedis apostolice obtinente. Quia vero interdum diocesani episcopi copiam non habetis, si quem episcopum Romane sedis, ut diximus, gratiam et communionem habentem, et de quo plenam notitiam habeatis, per vos transire contigerit, ab eo benedictiones monialium, vasorum et vestium ac consecrationes altarium auctoritate sedis apostolice recipere valeatis. Cum autem generale interdictum terre fuerit, liceat vobis clausis ianuis, exclusis excommunicatis et interdictis, non pulsatis campanis, suppressa voce divina officia celebrare. Obeunte vero te, nunc eiusdem loci abbatissa, vel earum aliqua, que tibi successerit, nulla ibi qualibet surreptionis astutia seu violentia preponatur, nisi quam sorores communi consensu vel sororum maior pars consilii sanioris secundum deum et beati Benedicti regulam providerint eligendam. Libertates preterea et immunitates concessas vobis a rege, episcopo et capitulo supra dictis auctoritate apostolica confirmantes, nichilominus inhibemus, ne quis archiepiscopus, episcopus vel prelatus alius in monasterium et hospitale predicta vel personas regulare inibi Domino famulantes excommunicationis, suspensionis vel interdicti sententiam audeat promulgare, quam contra prohibitionem huiusmodi prolatam decernimus non tenere. Paci quoque et tranquillitati vestre paterna in posterum sollicitudine providere volentes auctoritate apostolica prohibemus, ut infra clausuras locorum vestrorum nullus rapinam seu furtum facere, ignem apponere, sanguinem fundere, hominem temere capere vel interficere seu violentiam audeat exercere. Statuimus insuper, ut iuxta morem Romane ecclesie divinum ibi officium celebretur, excepto psalterio, quod secundum consuetudinem possitis dicere Gallicanam. Decernimus ergo, ut nulli omnino hominum liceat prefatum monasterium et hospitale temere perturbare aut eius possessiones auferre vel ablatas retinere, minuere seu quibuslibet vexationibus fatigare, sed omnia integra conserventur earum pro quarum gubernatione ac sustentatione concessa sunt, usibus omnimodis profutura, salva sedis apostolice auctoritate. Ad indicium autem huiusmodi percepte a sede apostolica libertatis unum bizantium persolvetis nobis nostrisque successoribus annuatim. Si qua igitur in futurm ecclesiastica secularisve persona hanc nostre constitutionis paginam sciens, contra eam temere venire temptaverit secundo tertiove commonita, nisi reatum suum congrua satisfactione correxerit, potestatis honorisque sui careat dignitate reamque se divino iudicio existere de perpetrata iniquitate cognoscat et a sacratissimo corpore ac sanguine dei et domini redemptoris nostri Jesu Christi aliena fiat atque in extremo examine districte subiaceat ultioni. Cunctis autem eidem loco sua iura servantibus sit pax domini nostri Jesu Christi, quatinus et hic fructum bone actionis percipiant et apud districtum iudicem premia eterne pacis inveniant. Amen. Amen. Amen.
Datum Perusii per manum magistri Guillelmi, sancte Romane ecclesie vicecancellarii, VIII kalendas augusti, indictione VIII, incarnationis dominice anno MCCXXXV, pontificatus vero domni Gregorii pape VIIII anno nono.
The pope takes Agnes's monastery and its holdings under his protection and affirms their freedoms and immunities.
1. A note in the column of the Bullarium text says this refers to freedom from paying the tithe (decimarum).
Codex Diplomaticus et Epistolarius Regni Bohemiae, ed. Gustavus Friedrich (Prague: Wiesner, 1942), 3.1, ep.118; Bullarium Franciscanum, 1, p.171-72, ep.178.